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Former Finance Minister And BJP Stalwart Arun Jaitley Dies At 66

Arun Jaitley, the former finance minister of India, who had been unwell for quite some time now, passed away on Saturday. Arun Jaitley, the Bharatiya Janata Party leader had been ailing for a large part of the last two years. He had reportedly been admitted at AIIMS Delhi following complaints of breathlessness and restlessness, where he took his last breath. To recall, back in 2018, he underwent a kidney transplant surgery, following which, he was put under isolation. Owing to dire health issues, he was unable to present the 2019 Interim Budget.

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A lawyer by profession, Arun Jaitely was a dependable colleague to Narendra Modi, especially during BJP’s term back in 2014. He was handed the responsibilities of temporarily handling ministries including defence other than his primary portfolio of finance. 2014 was the same year when he underwent bariatric surgery to curb the excess weight he had gained due to diabetes.

Moreover, due to health issues Arun Jaitely in 2014 had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to free him of the responsibilities in the new government as he entirely wanted to focus on his health. Due to the same reason, Jaitley didn’t contest the 2019 election.

Arun Jaitely donned many roles in his career including politician, lawyer, cricket administrator and a raconteur. Mr. Jaitley rose to fame during the emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi in 1975. He was the first minister to have been arrested as part of the crackdown against political activists. He also held many important ministries in the Vajpayee government, including law and justice, information and broadcasting, shipping and commerce and industry. He was one of the major faces that guided the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.

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Jaitley’s demise that comes days after the nation lost former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit and ex-foreign minister Sushma Swaraj has left the country numb. As per the latest information, PM Narendra Modi has spoken to Arun Jaitley’s wife and son and expressed his condolences.

Meanwhile, several ministers, including Amit Shah and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, have cut short their itinerary and are on their way back to the capital after the demise of former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

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